Goad News

More Amazon buyers are scamming sellers with fraudulent returns

Amazon makes it so easy for consumers to return products that some buyers take advantage of the policy and defraud sellers.

Nicole Barton, owner of a small business that sold clothing and accessories on Amazon, described a customer returning a pair of flip-flops following an order for Nike cleats. Another shopper swapped a Coach wallet for a knockoff accessory, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

“Amazon sellers get all kinds of garbage thrown back at them,” Wall Street Journal reporter Sebastian Herrera, author of the report, told CBS News.

He said another business owner who sells household goods received dirty cable boxes and bars of soap from buyers making false returns. “It’s really everything you can imagine. People are throwing back all kinds of trash and they’re doing it every day.”

Sellers who get fake returns don’t have much recourse. They can file what’s called a return flight claim, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll be made whole.

For its part, Amazon said it had “no tolerance for fraudulent returns,” a company spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.

This is a “major issue for our sector,” according to the National Retail Federation, which reports that nearly 14% of returns in 2023 constituted fraud. Such returns led to losses of $101 billion for retailers, according to the federation.

“Sellers don’t have a lot of ways to combat this,” Herrera said, noting that Amazon’s policies tend to favor buyers. “A big part of this problem is that Amazon has really set up its system to please customers, and a lot of that has to do with the ease of returns,” he said.

Sometimes, when Amazon decides the cost of processing a return is too high, the retail giant even offers customers refunds on low-priced items they don’t want, while allowing them to keep products.

This is just one of the challenges facing traders on the platform, and one reason why the Federal Trade Commission sues the online retailer.

“A lot of sellers are unhappy with Amazon because they feel squeezed by the company and unsupported,” Herrera told CBS News. “And the return flight is just one example that they cite as an area where they don’t have a lot of power at Amazon.”

Exit mobile version